One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

Postby PyroDragn » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:47 am

Hiya Guys (and Gals?),

As promised to those who seemed interested I have spent the last few days working on a Game Design Document. I realise that at this point it is fairly basic, but I think that there's enough there to work with and start discussing concepts. I may refine the GDD as the discussion progresses.

So, here it is:
One Step Ahead - GDD

One Step Ahead is a 2D top down stealth action game, based on a spy/agent equipped with a piece of technology which allows him to see the future. The gameplay involves stealthily navigating a map while trying to complete objectives to assassinate, sabotage, or hack various targets.

I hope that you'll read the GDD for a full idea of the game, and please give feedback. If people are interested in taking this forward and trying to produce the game, just respond here (there was some interest in Skype earlier this week, so I'm hoping people are still interested).

I look forward to the community's response.

Regards,
Pyro
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Re: One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

Postby Landshark » Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:26 am

Overall I'd say it's very well done. Although I'll admit this is the first GDD that I've ever read through start to finish. :) However, while reading the GDD I was able to envision the game in my head, which I believe is a positive result of the detailed explanations provided within the doc.

I'm hoping many more take some time to read through it as well.

My thoughts/ideas:

Focusing on the FutureView feature of the game: If the guards actions are random it could be difficult/rare for what you see in FutureView to actually happen once you come out of FutureView. I could see the need to 'record' the guard's path/actions during FutureView and then to 'replay' them from a selected start point once the player exits FutureView. On the flipside, if the guards path/action was entirely scripted (like a set pattern), then recording their actions during FutureView would not be needed.

Example for if the guards path/actions were entirely random: If FutureView (fully upgraded) has a max length of 5 minutes (for example), then perhaps the guards path/actions should always be recorded for up to 5 minutes ahead of the current time, although leaving the ability for their recorded actions to be interrupted by the players actions. In a sense this would make guard path/actions scriped to a point. They would be 'scripted' for up to 5 minutes at a time. Then, if the player was to use FutureView for the full 5 minutes before exiting, they would have no idea what the guards will do past that 5 minute mark. This would also allow guard path/actions to continue in real-time instance of the map while the FutureView instance is running at 1.x time (or x.x time, whatever).

I hope that made sense.
-Landshark (Scott)
Programmer

Will answer to "Grey Bush" on occasion.
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Re: One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

Postby Reliable Source » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:45 am

This a great GDD, and has quite a bit of potential. However, as of now, all I really know about the guards is that they come in different levels and that some special ones come when an alarm is sounded. Are there any more specifics? Also, how is the alarm sounded? Otherwise, this is well written and would make a great game.
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Re: One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

Postby samreinod » Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:02 pm

Map generation: Learn from Minecraft. Maybe randomly combine already existing and tested levelparts

Guards: I would like to see the guards notjust like moving cameras, but like real persons. I´d be great of they would be talking to each other for example about how they hate their job (only the easiest guards) or how they are going to kill someone if find an invader (hard guards) This would really increase the atmosphere, and making the player fear the guards. Also it´s a great way to implement jokes or eastereggs (of course only the waym this its not getting ridiculous)

Cameras: Something funny would be, if the player could disable the camera for a short time, make a photograph and pin it on the camera.(Like im MI1 or 2, not sure.) This would only work, if the camera is static and if nobody is patroulling in front of the camera

Lasers: Is the player able to see them in the future view?

Bodys: Depending on the difficulty of the level, guards should know, if his friend is not coming along on his usually way and / or is missing.

Movement: In my personal opinion, rightclicking to a point or even drag a line where the player has to go is way more accurate, because you dont have only 4 ways.

Abilities: Hacking: What if you dont level up hacking, so when the player has to hack more difficult items, there is a chance that the hacking will fail and an alarm goes up? Well, one the other side this would force the player to upgrade hacking. Dunno if thats what we want...

Explosives: If an something explodes in a high security area, other guards would look what happen or the alarm goes instantly up. However what about implementing somthing that doesnt make an explosion, but releases toxic vapours, so nobody else knows what happend. Apart from guards that are coming to this area later ofcourse.

Futureview: I think the world should look different while in future view. For example it looks slightly like in LoTR, when Frodo puts the ring over his finger, and everything looks a bit blurry, This shouldnt be as strong as in the movies, but it should be so, that the player sees everything not as detailed as normal.

Forecasting: Really like this idea, but the shadows should be visible in the "real" game. On the other side it collides with the Futureview, it seems like it is nearly the same as the futureview, so we have to make it unique somehow.

Everything written here is just my opinion/are my ideas, and needs to be discussed.

Anyway, great GDD, really gave me an idea of what your game could look like!
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Re: One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

Postby alhadrian » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:29 am

Would be nice if you could develop your skills overtime and have new capabilities . You could grow branches of different ways on infiltrating .
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Re: One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

Postby russ » Sat Feb 09, 2013 1:05 pm

alhadrian wrote:Would be nice if you could develop your skills overtime and have new capabilities . You could grow branches of different ways on infiltrating .

Well, I was thinking that the game would be so complicated, it would not be the character abstractly getting better, but the player noticing new patterns and finding new tricks.
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Re: One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

Postby athecondor » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:10 pm

I'm with Landshark, I think the behavior of the guards will be pivotal to gameplay.

The Futureviewer is a great idea though, I think you could ramp up the difficulty so much higher then other stealth games having that in. And because it's procedural, both in the environment and hopefully semi-random with the guard movements, progress will be completely reliant on player skill. You can't beat a level by getting so familiar with an area that there's no surprises, if you die you have to start completely over! It will always be fresh and even though you have an edge with the Futureviewer, you're projection is time limited making it super stressful to accomplish you're goal while you know what's going on.

I think putting as few safe spots as possible would be a plus. At least toward the end game levels.
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Re: One Step Ahead - GDD Discussion

Postby PyroDragn » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:53 pm

Landshark wrote:Focusing on the FutureView feature of the game: If the guards actions are random it could be difficult/rare for what you see in FutureView to actually happen once you come out of FutureView. I could see the need to 'record' the guard's path/actions during FutureView and then to 'replay' them from a selected start point once the player exits FutureView. On the flipside, if the guards path/action was entirely scripted (like a set pattern), then recording their actions during FutureView would not be needed.


The guard's behaviours wouldn't be entirely random, it'd be more like their personality is randomized at the level generation, and possibly sequentially during the level. As events are generated through future view, they would be recorded and scripted to happen at the same time. This would depend greatly on how the movement and behaviours of the guards is programmed, so I didn't go into too much detail. The idea is basically just to make the future-view reliable, so that if you've seen what a guard will do in two minutes, you can plan accordingly.

Reliable Source wrote:However, as of now, all I really know about the guards is that they come in different levels and that some special ones come when an alarm is sounded. Are there any more specifics? Also, how is the alarm sounded? Otherwise, this is well written and would make a great game.


I didn't go into too many specifics about the types of guards, mainly because, without having a multitude of abilities there isn't much point in having a wide range of guard types. If all you're doing is avoiding the guards, there's not much point in too many kinds. I would say that there would be a multiple range of difficulties (in terms of Guard ability, not in terms of gameplay level). Basic things such as view range, 'randomness,' toughness (how hard they are to kill/takedown).

Different guards would have different patrol sections, and would have periodic radio checks also. This would mean, if you chose to take out a guard, you'd have a limited timeframe before a radio call is done and the failure to respond would mean someone could sound the alarm.

Alarms would be sounded through a few different methods: tripping a laser, a guard activating an alarm switch (either on the walls or at consoles), automatically via an explosion/destroying various pieces of equipment. They could also be activated by radio, or from a camera, but this is more of a point of the radio or camera notifying a guard to set off the alarm.

samreinod wrote:Map generation: Learn from Minecraft. Maybe randomly combine already existing and tested levelparts


Map generation in minecraft is a very different beast to the type of level generation that would be required for this as it is not a voxel game. There is a possibility of having a defined set of (larger) parts, but the part-set would have to be large enough that the generation is actually worthwhile, otherwise it defeats the point of level generation.

I would have several stages of generation. You would generate a series of different rooms; Locker-room, guard room, laboratory, office, etc... and then using the rooms you would generate the map, linking the rooms together either directly, or through corridors.

If this is too complicated/intensive, then you could eliminate the first stage and have pre-defined rooms. However, as I said above, the amount of room variation would need to be high enough to make the gameplay experience unique for each level.

samreinod wrote:Guards: I would like to see the guards notjust like moving cameras, but like real persons. I´d be great of they would be talking to each other for example about how they hate their job (only the easiest guards) or how they are going to kill someone if find an invader (hard guards) This would really increase the atmosphere, and making the player fear the guards. Also it´s a great way to implement jokes or eastereggs (of course only the waym this its not getting ridiculous)


Having voices/conversation is an option. I was sort of expecting that there would be discrete interaction between guards; ie, that they would stop and 'look like' they're speaking to each other at points in time - as one of the random things that guards might do that would break up their patrol. Actually having scripted conversations increases the amount of work dramatically, and while it isn't too complicated to implement, it is something that needs to be considered for whether the amount of work would add enough value.

samreinod wrote:Cameras: Something funny would be, if the player could disable the camera for a short time, make a photograph and pin it on the camera.(Like im MI1 or 2, not sure.) This would only work, if the camera is static and if nobody is patroulling in front of the camera


Disabling cameras discretely is an option, however the 'mission impossible photograph' wouldn't be easily portrayed from the top-down perspective of the game. The game concept could be applied to a more advanced 1st/3rd person view, which would make this specific addition more applicable, but to begin with it's not worth doing.

samreinod wrote:Lasers: Is the player able to see them in the future view?


No. The future view is essentially no different to normal view. I thought about adding something like IR goggles to allow you to see lasers, but then it really defeated the point of having lasers in the first place. This could be balanced (limited use on the goggles, limiting other views, etc) but I think that simply keeping them invisible (or possibly -very- faint) will make it more reliant on the player's ability to plan ahead, and making use of the future view to test movements/ideas.

samreinod wrote:Bodys: Depending on the difficulty of the level, guards should know, if his friend is not coming along on his usually way and / or is missing.


As I said above, radio checks would make it possible for a guard to be discovered missing. There could be scope for guards to keep track of each other's patrols so that they might notice if anything goes awry. Ideally this would be the case to limit the ability of the player to eliminate all the guards to simplify the level.

samreinod wrote:Movement: In my personal opinion, rightclicking to a point or even drag a line where the player has to go is way more accurate, because you dont have only 4 ways.


This is going to be down to personal preference. The user interface is going to be dependent on clicking however, so having mouse to click could prove a hinderence with the user needing to use the mouse for everything and not being able to multi-task efficiently.

The control scheme should be configurable for the player to choose their input. Also, having analog input like a gamepad/joystick would be ideal.

samreinod wrote:Explosives: If an something explodes in a high security area, other guards would look what happen or the alarm goes instantly up. However what about implementing somthing that doesnt make an explosion, but releases toxic vapours, so nobody else knows what happend. Apart from guards that are coming to this area later ofcourse.


I didn't want to make too many overt abilities, to make the player more reliant on stealth and timing. Too many offensive options encourages the player to kill/attack guards, rather than try to distract/avoid them, which is counter-intuitive to the style of game I planned.

That being said, there could be a possibility for more options, such as a silent gas bomb, but I think that would need to be considered after the gameplay and levels have been more concretely defined.

samreinod wrote:Futureview: I think the world should look different while in future view. For example it looks slightly like in LoTR, when Frodo puts the ring over his finger, and everything looks a bit blurry, This shouldnt be as strong as in the movies, but it should be so, that the player sees everything not as detailed as normal.


I was planning for futureview to be identical to realtime. Mainly because I didn't see any reason to change it, but that's mostly an aesthetic consideration. Adding a motion blur / fog would depend on the graphics that were implemented. Adding a fog to a sprited motion, for example would require a graphics overlay or a new set of sprites just for the future-viewer. Either of which may be too intensive. But again, worth considering.

samreinod wrote:Forecasting: Really like this idea, but the shadows should be visible in the "real" game. On the other side it collides with the Futureview, it seems like it is nearly the same as the futureview, so we have to make it unique somehow.


Sorry I wasn't clear. The Forecasting is differentiated from future view in that it does exactly this, it gives a few seconds of future-time forecast into the real time world.

alhadrian wrote:Would be nice if you could develop your skills overtime and have new capabilities . You could grow branches of different ways on infiltrating.


russ wrote:Well, I was thinking that the game would be so complicated, it would not be the character abstractly getting better, but the player noticing new patterns and finding new tricks.


Covering both of these; There would be some scope for upgrades which I included - upgrading your future viewer so that you can see further into the future, or upgrading your hacking abilities. Beyond these few bits and pieces, as Russ said, it is mostly reliant on the player's ability to improve rather than the character getting abstractly better.

athecondor wrote:The Futureviewer is a great idea though, I think you could ramp up the difficulty so much higher then other stealth games having that in. And because it's procedural, both in the environment and hopefully semi-random with the guard movements, progress will be completely reliant on player skill.


I would really hope for the procedural generation to be implemented for exactly that reason. The player will be forced to improve their abilities, and constantly appraise each level, rather than simply learning and remember how to complete various stages.

athecondor wrote:I think putting as few safe spots as possible would be a plus. At least toward the end game levels.


Ideally, the game would have no safe spots at all. You would start in a 'safer' part of the map, such as a seldomly checked room, and certain areas would be similar in that they aren't patrolled as often, but the entire map should be covered at some point so that the player cannot remain in one place indefinitely.


Thanks for the responses everyone. It actually seems to have been pretty well received, and I am definitely considering taking this further into development stage and possible release. I'm not sure how many (if any) of you would actually be interested in forming a team to try and put this together within the community. If you're unsure about posting publicly then you can always poke me on skype, or send me a PM through the forum.
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